Yom Kippur bike rental and the Israeli anti-freedom lobby

Chaim Eckstein thinks that the Tel Aviv municipality has gone too far in not suspending their bike rental service on Yom Kippur:

Yom Kippur bike rental – secular fanaticism – Israel Opinion, Ynetnews.

Suspending the bike rental service on Yom Kippur does not constitute capitulation to the religious community, and it has nothing to do with religious coercion. Why? Because Yom Kippur is not a religious day; it is an Israeli day. It is one of the state’s symbols.

You do not have to observe the Torah and the mitzvahs to deem Yom Kippur a holy day. Even avid seculars fast on Yom Kippur. Even those who regularly eat bacon with cheese feel uncomfortable upon hearing that an Israeli who plays for a European basketball team took part in a game that was held on Yom Kippur. Eat falafel, go to a barbecue but also fast one day a year – this is what it means to be Israeli in modern times.

That may be true, but these avid seculars may also want to ride a bike while they are fasting. Or maybe the 30% of Israelis who are not Jewish may want to ride a bike around Tel Aviv on a day when you can’t really drive. Or perhaps the tens of thousands of tourists that keep the Israeli economy running may want to ride a bike around Tel Aviv on that day.

Either way, who the hell is Chaim Eckstein to tell them they can’t?

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  1. #1 by Raphael on September 6, 2012 - 8:08 pm

    1) Tourism? Responsible tourism is a growing trend. It asks travelers to be respectful of the host country. I would include Israel there. But more than that, tourists actually like exotic customs and would totally respect the fact that there is no bike rental on Yom Kippur in Tel Aviv, if such was the case.

    2) Non-Jews? Some non-French people would like to go shopping on Sundays there. Guess what? They can’t. Stores must close on Sundays, by law. Example: the Muji case in Paris.

    3) Coercion? I like the irony because at the moment, the practising Jews in the State of Israel are a minority and coercion if any is coming from the secular segment of the Israeli society and its parliament. Consumerism and emptiness are stronger by the minute. The mainstream public, the press and the ruling class are building a synthetic “Israeli” identity in lieu of the Jewish national identity based on Torah and Mitswoth. This not-so-new phenomenon started 200 years ago with the self-described “Enlightment” movement. To be clear: the national identity of the Jewish people is to be found solely in the world of yeshivot.

    Anyhow, who cares about Tel Aviv?

    • #2 by MK on September 7, 2012 - 12:34 pm

      1) From your replies, I will assume that you are a) Jewish, b) orthodox, c) religious and d) either Israeli or have at least spent a lot of time there.

      If this assumption was correct, I would like to know what kind of rigorous surveys of non-Jewish tourists in Israel on Yom Kippur you have seen/conducted to tell you that:

      But more than that, tourists actually like exotic customs and would totally respect the fact that there is no bike rental on Yom Kippur in Tel Aviv, if such was the case.

      Or could it be that you have not seen any studies and are in fact making completely baseless assertions about what other people might like because it’s convenient for your argument?

      2) France should allow its stores to open on Sunday. So should Australia (where I live) — a point that I have made before.

      3) I don’t really understand your point, but you clearly care about Tel Aviv enough to have made it.

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